Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dr. Oz and the GMO Debate Part 2

After Dr. Oz introduced GM (genetically modified) foods to the audience, as well as some of his concerns about them in Part 1 of this segment of show, he introduced the three expert panelists invited to speak on the topic of genetically modified foods.
  •  Jeffrey Smith, author of two books on the subject of GM foods,
  • Dr. Michael Hansen, who works for Consumer Reports and has studied GM foods, and
  • Dr. Pamela Ronald, a Plant Pathologist and author of the book and blog of the same name: Tomorrow's Table
Dr. Oz also mentioned that he extended an invitation to someone in the Monsanto company, but they declined, providing a statement, of which he shared this bit:
image from The Dr. Oz Show episode originally aired on 12/7/2010

 Part 2 of Dr. Oz's GMO Segment - The Debate begins
Genetically Modified Foods, Pt. 2 (this video clip is 5 minutes and 29 seconds long)

As Dr. Oz began to engage each of the panelists in their viewpoints of the place GMO foods have in our world and in our diets, he paused to give voice to the major questions raised by the proponents and opponents of this technique of food/crop development. I think it is very important to take note of them, here, again:
image from The Dr. Oz Show episode originally aired on 12/7/2010.
What struck me as this graphic hit the screen was the question marks. So often, being exposed to extremist views in a topic of debate, it is easy to forget that they actually belong there. Are these benefits? Are they always true? Are none of these things possible with non-GMO food? Why does it provide a cheaper food supply? How do they improve the lives of farmers?
More questions rose the more I let these settle...

image from The Dr. Oz Show episode originally aired 12/7/2010
And then the opponents' questions hit the screen. Where is the evidence of each of these harmful effects? I have heard them all before, it is one of the reasons I avoid GMO whenever possible, but when I heard about them, there were no question marks. I began to wonder, what is the flip side to this story, sure Monsanto did not show, but what does Dr. Pamela Ronald have to say? I would like to hear both sides to the story and then make my decision.

I had really high hopes for this episode when I first heard about the panel of GMO experts - for once, I thought, I'll be hearing both sides of the story, even if it is on a short segment of a show! However, I was disappointed by the seemingly one-sided nature of the show (even if it did lean in my direction). Jeffrey Smith spoke of all of the things that he learned through his research for his books (he worked with doctors and scientists, he is not one himself). His claimed that evidence was found to for all of the maledictions in the graphic above, he actually said at one point that all doctors should, "prescribe a non-GMO diet to all of their patients." When he was done, Dr. Oz asked Dr. Ronald to chime in. She claimed that all of Mr. Smith's evidence has been refuted and listed a number of websites (bioforitifed,org, and to go to in order to see those studies. I thought to myself, "Here we go. This is going to be good," and then Dr. Oz cut her off! I was shocked. He said people don't want to hear about websites, "...they think either you're full of it, or Jeffrey's full of it." That's true.

Her response was spot on, she said, "...Science does not make policy, but we need to make policy based on the best science..."and then got in one more dig that Mr. Smith is not a scientist.

The question in this debate: WHAT IS THE BEST SCIENCE?

I agree with Dr. Ronald. I understand the suspicion of Jeffrey Smith's results, but what about Dr. Hansen?

Books written by people on the show:

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